The New York TimesThe New York Times

Tattoo Artists Face a Grayer Palette in Europe

By Ted Alcorn

19 Jun 2022 · 7 min read

Editor's Note

The banning of pigmented inks is a controversy where many issues intersect: public health, industry regulation, artistic expression. Erring too far on the side of caution will disrupt livelihoods.

Along a bare torso and down a thigh, the sun glints through ocean waters and bathes coral and fish in aqueous light. On a lower leg, vivid frogs tense, as if preparing to jump from dewy leaves. A mischievous child with twinkling blue eyes stares out from an inner bicep.

In his home studio in the northern Italian village of Grado, Alex De Pase reviewed photographs of some of the thousands of designs he had inked over his career as a tattoo artist. But these skinscapes might not be possible to replicate in 2023 — at least not with the same set of colors.

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